ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday extended its heartiest felicitations to the people of Africa on the occasion of “Africa Day” marking the 59th anniversary of the African Union.

This day is a celebration of the African nations’ heroic struggle against colonialism, racism, and apartheid, as well as the richness of their civilisation and the gigantic strides they have made since achieving emancipation from colonial rule.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commemorated the day by organising a virtual event in collaboration with the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad. Over 500 guests from 35 African countries attended the event, with representation from the African Union Commission and three regional economic communities namely the East Africa Community, the Economic Community of West African States and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari opened the proceedings with his keynote address. The Foreign Minister said Pakistan was proud of the political and diplomatic support it had extended to freedom movements of African nations in the past.

Secretary General East Africa Community Dr. Peter Mathuki was the special guest of honour on the occasion. In his remarks, Dr. Mahutki recalled the historic bonds of friendship between Pakistan and Africa.

He appreciated Pakistan’s diplomatic and economic support for African countries through decades, making particular note of Pakistan’s contributions to UN peacekeeping operations in Africa.

Representing the Armed Forces of Pakistan, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Nadeem Raza, highlighted growing defence and counter-terrorism cooperation between Pakistan and African countries. He said Pakistan’s participation in 46 UN peacekeeping missions in Africa since 1960 was a manifestation of its support for the Continent’s peace and stability.

As the world observes Africa Day 2022, Pakistan reaffirms its full solidarity and support for the aspirations and endeavours of the African nations for peace, progress and prosperity.